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KDF Great Balloon Race

It's an annual event that really carries Louisvillians away!

The Kentucky Derby Festival Great Balloon Race is one of Louisville's beloved family traditions.

This colorful, family friendly event was first held in 1973 and included just eight balloons. Nearly 50 are expected to race in 2009.

In this Louisville Life story, we meet a “balloon-expert” who’s been with the event since almost its beginnings and a local pilot who’s flown in the race for years.

George Troutman, Kentucky Derby Festival Great Balloon Race Chair, was one-half of the Great Balloon Race's first husband-and-wife piloting team in 1976.

Brian Beazly, Owner & chief pilot of Balloon Odyssey Brian Beazly is owner and chief pilot of Louisville's Balloon Odyssey, Inc., which is celebrating 35 years in 2009. He has flown in the Kentucky Derby Festival Great Balloon Race every year since 1988, winning the event in 1995.

Crowds in excess of 30,000 attend the KDF Great Balloon Race annually.

The Kentucky State Fairgrounds has been the launch site of the Race since 1975.

Learn about the Derby Festival Spelling Bee and the Pegasus Parade from our Louisville Life archive.

Program 322
Two local entrepreneurs share the secret of their success in the handbag industry, a charitable organization offers a tall drink of water, and much more. (#322)